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Chinese People in Africa: An Inside View Into Their Daily Lives (Translation) Part 5 – Angola

Chinese law magazine “Rule of Law Weekly” interviewed six Chinese people who are working in Africa.  Each individual works in a different country and they all have a story to tell.  The following is the fifth installment in the six-part series.
Angola
Rule of Law Reporter Ji Dongye    Translation by Erik Myxter
Du Qing (pseudonym) is one of Beijing Construction Group’s electrical engineers.  Since the beginning of 2009 until the end of 2012 he was in West Africa’s Angola.  Because the project was completed, 32-year-old Du Qing came back from Angola to China.  Because of his family he does not plan to come back to Angola again.
Du Qing’s company’s project was in a suburb of Angola’s capital.  After more than 27 years of civil war, the inequality between the rich and the poor has become a huge phenomenon.  “Here there are many Chinese people.  It is said that the local population (of Angola) is around 20 million people, where the population of Chinese people here is 260,000.  But the foundation of the Chinese in Angola are people who come to work on a project, do business or are migrant workers, there aren’t any people who are immigrating here to stay.”  He said, “There are many engineers and also some people who engage in foreign trade.”
The rhythm of live in Angola is not particularly fast.  Here the local people go to work at nine in the morning and get off of work at three in the afternoon.  That being said, many of the Chinese people will work overtime.
Some Chinese people find it difficult to accept Angola’s leisurely lifestyle.  “At customs, the workers inspect baggage in a laid-back manner.  This will make the Chinese people who are eager to go home very worried.” Du Qing says.
Every time he goes to the supermarket checkout Du Qing must sort out his money and put it on the counter.  “In the past some Chinese people did not head to this custom and they threw money at the worker, if you do that the (Angolan) people will be very angry.”
Working in Angola is hard, but the salary is comparatively higher so there are many people who still come here. “Chinese people are very hard working, they especially can eat bitterness and worked tirelessly.  Chinese people can easily take all of these jobs in Africa.”
Before he went abroad, Du Qing’s company gave him relatively good amount of training, but now there is less training available and it just mostly covers safety.
Xie Fei (pseudonym) and Du Qing worked for the same company doing office administrative work for almost two years. Xie Fei told Rule of Law reporters “before I left, the company would be united in giving anti-infectious disease vaccines.”
“In that company and at China Iron and CITIC we usually could not go out alone.  We don’t have much contact with other projects Chinese people are doing.  Most often we are focused on doing our work.” Du Qing said.
Du Qing genuinely felt that Chinese people have made a large contribution over there. “For example we have constructed basic infrastructure, residential areas, roads and railways.”
“The economy is developing quickly over there, there are large supermarket chains and tons of infrastructure has been built up.” Du Qing said.
In Angola, most of the local people are very friendly towards Chinese people.  Xie Fei says: “Most of the people are very enthused about China’s attitude.  I have heard that some other Chinese company’s host parties with their local African employees; everyone gets together and has a great time.
“Local traffic police enforcement is relatively strict, they can stop you to see if you have a fire extinguisher inside your car or if you brought your passport or if you broke one of the traffic rules.” Du Qing said.  “But on the other hand, they are not as strict with the local population.” Xie Fei said.
In Angola, personal safety is always Du Qing focal point.  “You must rely on yourself to be safe.” Du Qing told the reporter, “When you go outside you want to go with someone else, do not go out alone.  Also before you go out you want to tell your company.  Let your leaders know where you are going and if they need to how can they get in contact with you.”
A normal day’s work is very hard, Xie Fei and Du Qing both only had one day off a week. “The company’s organization structure is like a small island, where the scenery was beautiful, and I could eat all the shrimp I wanted.  I also had the chance to go to Moon Bay, which was naturally formed by crater landscape.” Xie Fei said.
安哥拉
法治周末记者 汲东野
杜清(化名)是北京建工集团一名机电工程师。从2009年初到2012年年底,他在西非国家安哥拉待了近四年时间。随着一期工程完工,32岁的杜清从安哥拉回国。因为家庭原因,以后不打算再出去了。
杜清公司的项目在安哥拉的首都郊区。经历过27年内战,首都存在贫富差距现象。“这里的中国人很多。据说当地一共有人口两千万左右,中国人就占到二十六万。不过基本都是过去做项目或经商的流动人员,没有移民过去留下的。”他说,“工程类的多,还有一些搞外贸生意的。”
安哥拉人的生活节奏不是特别快,当地人上午九点上班,下午三点就下班了。不过,在那的中国人还是会加班干点活。
对于安哥拉的悠闲,有些中国人还是很难接受。“在海关的时候,他们会不慌不忙地检查你的行李。这就会让回家心切的中国人很着急。”杜清说。
每次去超市,结账时,杜清都要把钱整理好,把手放在柜台上,“板正地给”。“以前有些中国人不注意这个,扔给人家,人家就会很生气。”
在安哥拉工作也很辛苦,但相对于更高的工资,还是有很多人来到这里。“中国人很勤劳,特别能吃苦耐劳。这些在非洲的活儿,中国人干起来得心应手。”
以前出国时,杜清的公司会给比较多的培训,现在少了,主要都是讲安全方面。
谢霏(化名)和杜清就职于同一家企业,她在非洲做办公行政工作接近两年时间。她告诉法治周末记者:“过去之前,公司会统一打一些防传染疾病的疫苗。”
“在那边的公司还有中铁、中信等。不过,我们一般不会一个人出去,和别的工程的中国人接触的也不太多,平时主要还是以干活为主。”杜清说。
杜清打心眼儿里感觉,中国人在那边的贡献挺大。“比如基础设施的建设,社区、道路、铁路建设。”
“那边发展得很快,大型连锁超市啊、很多基础设施都建起来了。”杜清说。
在安哥拉,大多数当地人对中国人是友好的。谢霏说:“大部分人对中国态度都挺热情。听说,有其他中国公司还和非洲当地人一起办晚会呢,一起玩得很开心。
“当地的交警执法也比较严,他们会注意到你的车上有没有灭火器,是否带护照,是否违反交通规则。如果出现问题,会有金钱上的惩罚。有时候移民局也要查护照。”杜清说。
“不过,他们对于当地人或许没有这么严格。”谢霏说。
在安哥拉,人身安全一直是杜清所重视的。“靠自己注意安全。”杜清对记者说,“出门都要结伴,不允许一个人出去。而且出门前要跟公司报告,让领导知道你去哪里了,必须得能联系的上你。”
平日工作辛苦,谢霏和杜清都会期待一周一次的休息日。“公司组织去过一个小岛,风景很美,还可以吃龙虾自助餐。还去过当地的月亮湾,有天然形成的大坑地貌。”谢霏说。

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